Everyone has their own definition of ‘being fit’. What being fit means for one person may not be being fit for someone else since both these individuals are different in their own sense of self, even though they may share similar interests, beliefs, values and principles. Your body is not the same as someone else’s. Period. It is prudent to reason that understanding the basic principles of fitness and integrating them into one’s own life is not an easy task, and many instead choose to stick to the basics on a subjective level so to speak. Sweat, eat, work, enjoy, sleep and repeat. Although they sound very simple, they are not. Now, it’s one’s habits and his or her commitment that comes into the picture.
For the average man and woman out there, with aspirations, hope and determination to build a better life for themselves and their families, there exists plenty of avenues and modes to explore their health and wellness objectives. For starters, it is more common sense than rocket science to understand how personal one’s health and fitness is. While a majority get by, swearing about the merits of home-cooked food along with proper sleep, many others choose to approach providers who can help them sustain a journey rather than one-off bursts of inspiration that lack consistency.
Today, at Bangalore Insider we spoke to Ashish Rawat, the founder of Oga Fit, who is building and improving a technology-based one-stop fitness destination that helps the aspirational user stay productive while at home. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Oga Fit is an interactive platform that offers the true experience of an in-studio workout from the comfort of a user’s home. Our proprietary motion comparison technology compares user’s movements with the trainer’s in real-time, to provide feedback on what went right or wrong.
Through the platform, users have the ability to workout solo or host a group class with friends. They can create their own custom workout routine from a wide range of yoga, dance, and fitness content, sourced directly from the best trainers the world has to offer.
Oga Fit tracks how well a group is following the workout in real-time by providing a constantly updating leader board to further drive up the experience. At the end of every session, users have access to a post-workout screen that provides detailed insights on their fitness data and how they stacked up against your friends.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
We, human beings, are social by nature. We are happiest when surrounded by the people we love, and fitness is no different. Working out at a studio with friends, motivates us and pushes us to do our best rather than working out alone at a gym.
But often; long work hours and busy schedules make it extremely difficult to have a regular workout routine. Digital solutions have tried to solve this problem by offering on-demand workouts, but they lack the crucial element that makes a studio workout fun: interactivity. Boutique studios like CureFit, Sarva, CrossFit, and Gold’s have done an amazing job of creating experience-based centers where users go with the intent of burning calories but also end up having fun in their workout sessions. Even though digital solutions try to offer a similar experience, all of them are hindered by one fact: they cannot see or know what the users are doing.
We have solved this problem by using a proprietary motion comparison system that was built from scratch to track and compare user and trainer movements, to give real-time feedback on the user’s postures, repetitions and more. The entire experience is designed with community at the core to ensure users can work out together with their friends and family for the most motivating and engaging workout experience. These features are revolutionary in nature and not something that is being offered by any fitness platform online as of now.
In this ever-changing world where interaction forms the crux of everything that we do, there was a need for a fitness platform to provide quality studio-like workout experience, anytime, anywhere. This was the primary reason for the creation of Oga Fit.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I am a 26-year-old entrepreneur from Chennai. I have been coding since the age of 13 and I started out with creating mods and maps for games such as Counter Strike, Quake etc. I love to solve problems and have always been a creator. I was fascinated by video games and the amazing experience they offered. This motivated me to travel to the UK and get a degree in Computer Gaming from the University of South Wales.
After graduating, I worked with different start-ups for a few years in solving problems using cutting edge technologies such as AR, VR, and advanced computer vision techniques. Working for long hours, it was extremely difficult for me to maintain a healthy workout routine. I enjoyed working out at my local CrossFit studio however I was unable to attend my sessions regularly due to my erratic work schedule. I tried out digital fitness solutions but unfortunately, they were not even close to offering a similar workout experience. Having worked with cutting edge technologies, I knew a much better solution could exist; a solution that gave quality studio workout experience, anytime, anywhere. This is how Oga Fit came about.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Oga was founded in 2017 and is based out of Bengaluru. Since ours is a deep tech product, we wanted to get some of the best minds to join our team. Bengaluru, provided us just that.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Nothing beats a good night’s sleep after a productive day. Problems are going to be a constant in this challenging and exciting journey, but it is important to have a clear mind to make the best decision.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
Brands like CureFit, Sarva have done an amazing job of creating digital platforms to provide experience-based workouts however all of them are hindered by one fact: they cannot see or know what the users are doing. Oga Fit solves this problem by using a proprietary motion comparison system to help track and compare user and trainer movements giving real-time feedback on the user’s postures, repetitions and more. Their software also enables people to work-out together and have fun whilst at it. The entire experience is designed on the premise of community workouts encouraging users to work out together in a motivating, engaging & interactive manner. These features are revolutionary in nature and not something that is being offered by any fitness platform online as of now.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
I don’t think there is such a thing as a work-life balance as a startup founder. You have to be on 24/7 and as a founder, your primary job revolves around solving any problem that comes your way. It’s not like you can switch off over the weekend and the problem will go away. It’s a constant part of my everyday life and I find it quite fun and challenging. Exactly what I signed up for.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
As of now Oga Fit has raised $670k in funding from leaders such as David Giampaolo, CEO of Pi Capital, Sarva Yoga and Inflection Point Ventures.
What gets you excited about this company?
Not having access to an interactive and engaging digital fitness solution has been a personal pain point of mine. I have been fortunate enough to attract the right capital from the right investors, an amazing set of team members and partners who can help me in accomplishing this vision. We have all the ingredients in place and the prospect of what lies in the future is extremely exciting.
We are soon going to be launching our product in multiple countries and are in the process of on-boarding some of the best trainers the world has to offer. There are a lot of challenging, yet exciting times ahead of us and we want to make Oga Fit a win-win model that benefits both the trainers and the users.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My day starts with an 30-minute workout at around 7 AM. I mostly use Oga and other digital fitness platforms. This serves two purpose. Using other amazing fitness platforms helps me understand how other teams are tackling problems from a user centric perspective. Using the Oga platform helps me come up with new ideas and understand what our product could be doing better. I am in the office around 08:30 and most of the day is usually centred around meeting with our product team, going through customer feedback, coming up with new amazing ideas, talking with current investors, potential investors, potential partners etc. If I am lucky, I am able to get some time to code as it’s one of my most enjoyed hobbies. I am usually back home by 9 PM and in bed by 11 PM for a solid 8-hour sleep before starting my next exciting day.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
We have a 13-member strong team. We value skill and team work over anything else and for this reason, we have always been open to hiring amazing people no matter where they are. We currently have/had team members from the U.S, U.K, Ukraine, Vietnam etc. We have been a remote friendly company from the start and this helped for a seamless transition in this current unfortunate climate.
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